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Vegan MoFo #11: Brown Rice Koshary (Egyptian Lentils and Rice)

Posted Oct 17 2011 5:56am

Hey guys, hope everyone had a good weekend!

I’ve been attempting to relax and refuel after a very stressful week – final year of university is proving to be a lot more challenging that I had originally anticipated and at two weeks in, I’m already feeling pretty drained. Nothing a little rest and good old fashioned comfort food can’t remedy.

To some, that would mean a Sunday roast with all the trimmings, but yesterday I treated the roommate to my healthified version of the ultimate Egyptian comfort food: Koshary.

Earlier this  month I blogged about the quintessential Egyptian breakfast , but Koshary is by far the most popular Egyptian dish, and is in fact considered by many to be the national dish.

This simple combination of rice, macaroni, lentils, tomato sauce and fried onions is often regarded as a blue-collar meal, but is enjoyed by all regardless of social class. I’ve yet to meet an Egyptian who is “too good” for Koshary – and I’m pretty sure I won’t any time soon.

It’s sold in restaurants and vendors all over the country and has even been dubbed “the food that fed the revolution”.

It’s hearty, fragrant and filling.

To me, it tastes like home.

Serves 4 (plus leftovers)

1 cup of brown rice

1 cup of brown lentills

2 cups elbow macaroni

3-4 medium tomatoes – roughly chopped

2 medium red onions

1 T coconut oil (or desired cooking oil of choice)

 

For the chilli sauce:-

3-4 cloves of garlic – finely chopped or crushed

2-3T white whine vinegar

1 heaping teaspoon cumin powder

1-2 t chilli powder (or as much as is desired)

sea salt and pepper to taste

 

  1. To a pot of water, add the lentils along with a clove of garlic, half an onion, some cumin powder and salt and pepper if desired. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer until cooked. Make sure not to over cook – you want them slightly al dente and not mushy. 
  2. Add the macaroni to a pot of boiling water, cook and drain.
  3. Cook brown rice until perfectly fluffed.
  4. Make a tomato sauce by blending the chopped tomatoes with about a 1/4 cup of water and cook according to this recipe, but without the onions (ie. add the tomato sauce to just the oil to reduce). Season with salt and pepper to taste (I like a lot of pepper when making this for Koshary). Feel free to use ready made sauce or chopped tomatoes to save some time.
  5. While the sauce simmers – chop up the remaining onions into thick strips. Spread on a baking tray greased with coconut oil or some cooking spray and grill on medium heat till edges are crispy.
  6. To make the chilli sauce, combine the garlic, vinegar, cumin and chilli powder with 1-2 tablespoonfuls of the base tomato sauce.

And with that, the laborious process of cooking al the separate components is over.

Serve by layering the rice, macaroni and lentils and top with a generous serving of the tomato sauce then top with grilled onions.

Add however much chilli sauce you would like – or do what I did and leave it at the table for diners to add at their own risk :)

Served with a lush salad of mixed greens, carrots, walnuts and raisins (can you tell I love that combination in a salad?)

Have you ever had Koshary or any other ethnic street food?

What home cooked meal is your ultimate “comfort food”?

Here’s to a good week.


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